Currently sitting at the midseason point of the 2021 NFL season, the playoff positions are already starting to shape up in some sections of the league, despite the fact that we are entering week 10 at the time of writing.
With the season extended to 18 weeks this season as teams play 17 regular season games for the first time, there is a lot more football available to play, thus giving fans and teams alike the opportunity to enjoy more action. Punters will have the ability to place additional online sports bets on who they believe could reach the playoffs this season, whilst teams will have an additional game to play in order to make those aspirations happen.
With the Super Bowl LVI playoffs not set to take place until the middle of January 2022, with three Wild Card games scheduled to take place in each conference across January 15-17, making it the first time that three days are used. Two games will be played on Saturday, with a further three on Sunday and one on Monday night (the first since 1988).
The Divisional Round will take place on the following weekend (January 22-23), whilst the Conference Championships has been scheduled for January 30. Super Bowl LVI will take place on February 13.
Nonetheless, with so much football still to be played, here are just some of our predictions about which teams can expect to be playing in the postseason in the new year. We have split it by Conference and Division to make it easier to read.
Expect the Buffalo Bills to win this division having managed to go 5-3 as we head into Week 10 as they have an easier schedule, based on strength compared to others in the AFC East. Although, with that being said, the New England Patriots are right on their tails at the moment with their 5-4 record thus far and with both teams still required to play each other twice, there is every reason to see both of them in the playoffs this season.
The Baltimore Ravens should be a lock to go to the playoffs this season, with the team currently 6-2 and being the strongest of each of the teams based in the division. Each team comes with a number of flaws, although the Ravens seem to have the most glue when it comes to keeping things together as much as possible. Could the Cleveland Browns challenge? Possibly.
They might be without Derrick Henry for the rest of the season with a broken foot, but the Tennessee Titans have already amassed a 7-2 record, showing they can win without him when they demolished the Los Angeles Rams in convincing fashion in Week 9.
A division that could end up looking in a variety of ways given how close things are in Week 10, the Los Angeles Chargers look best positioned to enter the playoffs, whilst the Kansas City Chiefs could look to obtain a wildcard place if things improve for them on the field quickly.
There is no point looking at any team other than the Dallas Cowboys when looking at the NFC East. “America’s Team” are currently 6-2 and will have been disappointed with their loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 9, but with the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team struggling badly, you should not expect either of these three to join the Cowboys in the playoffs.
Again, the Green Bay Packers should be the only team to consider making the playoffs from the NFC North. A 7-2 record and a prime Aaron Rodgers makes the team a favourite and one that will have too much for the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions.
Standing at 6-2, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a lock for the NFC playoffs this season, although the NFC South could see one of the three Wild Card slots be taken up by the New Orleans Saints. The team is currently 5-3 and whilst Jameis Winston is out for the year, the team should have more than enough to secure a playoff berth.
Whilst the Arizona Cardinals appear set to head into the NFC playoffs as a favourite with a record of 8-1, two of the Wild Card spots could be handed out to two of the other teams involved in the Division. The Los Angeles Rams are one (7-2) and the Seattle Seahawks (3-5) could both potentially secure a berth, although the Seahawks may have a harder time of it.